sick

This winter has been a particularly tough one in regards to colds and the flu, and everywhere you turn it seems like someone is getting sick. Despite your very best efforts to eat right and handle stress correctly, sometimes illness descends upon your body no matter what. You’re sick, and you want to do something about it.

However, often the best thing you can do to heal faster is nothing at all. Really.

The majority of colds and the flu are caused by viruses, something that no doctor or medicine on earth can make go away. In fact, running out to the doctor’s office in traffic to mingle with other ill patients in the waiting room might influence your symptoms for the worse, not better. Yet we often want a quick fix; the wellness advice to “wait it out” is seldom appreciated but often correct. Viruses must run their course, and most go away on their own after several days of suffering. But it can be hard to sit back, wait and do nothing when you are ill and want the situation to change.

While a few people may secretly appreciate the requisite rest and attention that being ill affords, the vast majority of humans hate being sick. We want to fix the problem – to take a pill, see a doctor or do something to shorten the duration of the illness. Yet for the majority of winter bugs, the tried-and-true advice is always the same: get plenty of rest and keep well hydrated. No doubt you have been sick before, managed to make an appointment and paid to see a doctor, only to be told what you already know: rest and drink water.

For certain, some illnesses require doctor intervention. High fevers, coughs that last over a week and bacterial infections of the throat are just a few maladies that a doctor’s knowledge and prescriptions can alleviate. If you have these symptoms, you should see your general practitioner as soon as possible. But for most colds and even the flu, the best thing you can do is rest – and getting out and traveling to a doctor’s office is not a restful experience.

Resting can be more difficult for some of us than others. Some people pride themselves on never calling in sick to work; those are the same people that give everyone in the office their nasty head cold. Trust that your boss will not appreciate the fact that you insisted on coming to work when you knew you were sick. No paycheck is more important than your health, and working when you should be resting is a surefire way to make your illness last even longer.

When you are responsible for taking care of kids or other loved ones, time to rest becomes even more elusive. If you find yourself sick and in this situation, it’s time to call in the big guns: ask your family members or friends for help, even if it’s just a couple of hours of babysitting. Your health should be your top priority, and giving your body the rest that it needs to heal itself is the #1 advice of doctors around the world. And you don’t need an appointment to tell you that.

Image: RL Hyde